In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari ‘walked out’ of the state Legislature without completing his customary address to the joint House amid heckling by members of both the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi and Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party here on Thursday.
Soon after reaching the Legislature for the customary inaugural of the Budget Session, the Governor rose to deliver his speech, but ruling MVA legislators from the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress raised slogans against him for his recent utterances against the warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and on the child-marriage of social reformers Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Savitri Phule.
At this the Opposition BJP members raised slogans at the MVA demanding the resignation of Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik, who was arrested last month by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money-laundering case arising out of a land deal with mafia links.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other leaders attempted to placate the agitated members, but the ruckus continued.
Amid the continuing fracas by both sides a few minutes into his speech, the Governor placed his speech copy on the podium and quietly walked away without completing his much-awaited address or waiting for the National Anthem.
The incident resulted in a bitter brawl between the MVA-BJP, each blaming the other for the Governor’s sudden departure from the House amid uproarious scenes.
Irate MVA members termed Koshyari’s step as “an insult” to the Legislature, the National Anthem, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotirao and Savitri Phule, and some demanded his immediate resignation.
Hitting back, the BJP Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, and BJP Chief Whip Ashish Shelar and others alleged that the MVA government was attempting to protect a ‘mafia-tainted minister’ and they would not rest till Malik quit his post.
Several leaders like Nana Patole, Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Manisha Kayande, Amol Mitkari and others slammed the BJP and the Governor for the day’s developments, saying they are not concerned about the peoples’ welfare but hell-bent on toppling the MVA government.